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Posts Tagged ‘False Dilemma’

Victim OR Victor

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

Victim OR VictorIn this blog we’ve often discussed the “false dilemma” — the unnecessary use of the word “or.”

For example, “Wealthy OR Happy” as though it’s necessarily one OR the other when of course it can and should be both. Another is “nice OR successful.” Then there’s “giver OR receiver.” And numerous others.

On the other hand there are those things that are one or the other.

One cannot be angry AND happy.  A leader cannot be a manipulator AND have a loyal organization. A colleague cannot be a known gossiper AND respected.

And…a person cannot be a victim AND a victor. It truly is one OR the other.

Before I continue please allow me to establish a premise that differs from some others. There’s a teaching by many in the personal development community claiming that there are no victims and that we all — perhaps on some type of metaphysical level — always directly cause our own situations. With all respect, I disagree.

In my opinion, there certainly are victims, and through no cause of their own. People (and groups of people) are victims of natural disasters, of elements of their birth, of upbringing, of diseases, of despotic tyrants, of bullying, of horrible incidents that they did not cause.

They are victims. They did not bring it upon themselves.

However, I believe the choice they have is whether to remain a victim or do whatever they can in order to improve their lot and become victors.

Because if there’s one thing I’ve noticed in 59 years is that there is no such thing as a victim AND a victor…simultaneously.

Many victors began as victims or had something horrible happen to them where they became victims. But at some point they made an important decision.

A friend of mine explained how many years ago he got “taken” by his partners with whom he’d cofounded a franchise. When the franchise later became a huge success he was left with crumbs. He told me that for a number of years he lived in anger, resentment, and victimhood, sharing the story with anyone and everyone who would listen.

Indeed, he was a victim. But it was only after he decided he was tired of playing that role did he go on to build other successful businesses and reach the level of success  and happiness he knew he could. As he told me, so long as he remained in victim mode there was no way he could accomplish what he wanted.

Both individuals and groups — most of us have been victims of something. Sometimes little things. And other times, really, really big, horrendous, even monstrous things. And we all have the right to remain a victim and live in our victimhood.

Or, we can decide we’re no longer content with that, and do everything we can to become a victor, an overcomer, a hero of our circumstance.

One thing we cannot do is be both victim AND victor. It is definitely an OR.

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to share your thoughts.



Are These The Only Two Choices? Really?

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Recently, I saw a “tweet” suggesting that one should __________ rather than ___________. (So as not to identify the author, blanks have been used in place of the actual words.)

When presented with these two choices, most people would instinctively think just the opposite, as did I.

At first, anyway. But, then I thought perhaps the tweeter was correct after all. Or, was he? I kept going back and forth. And, then I realized where I was off the mark.

As usual, the “False Dilemma” (the unnecessary use of the word, “or”) was in play. It wasn’t an “either/or” but rather an “and.” Both were important and both were possible.

What I did was allow myself to be drawn into the frame that is so easy to be drawn into: when given a choice between two correct responses…believing those choices are the only two choices and that they are exclusive.

Suggestion: Regardless of whether the context is a philosophical tweet or a present conversation or situation in which you’d rather not have to make a choice, ask yourself:

“Are these actually the only two choices I have? Really? Could there be another one that the person does not want me to know? Or, perhaps one that simply doesn’t readily present itself?

Whatever the case…to the degree you can think — not outside the box but — “outside the False Dilemma” that you’ve intentionally or unintentionally been given, you can accomplish much greater results.

Question: what are some False Dilemmas you see being promoted either intentionally or unintentionally, and/or what false dilemmas have you overcome? This could prove to be insightful and save us all a lot of time in the future. 🙂


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